Trading Partners: Does Restructuring Portend Changes in the Reverse Auction Market? (Part 2)

In the first post in this series, I shared some of the background details of Trading Partners’ recent restructuring. In this post, I’ll continue the analysis, including some additional learning I was able to glean from a former senior leader in the organization. According to this individual, the last six managing directors, who “ran different regions of the world” for Trading Partners “were the driving force behind sales” for the organization. Yet “all six have left the organization in the last year,” of which “five opted to leave.”

Moreover, this individual says that Trading Partners “closed the Dallas office” and recently shuttered “Atlanta and NYC” as well. Even though Marc Halpin, Trading Partners’ CEO, shared with me that the company is “seeing significant traction and growth” in Latin America, the former senior leader I spoke with suggested that while “Trading Partners expanded business in South America to serve a major retailer,” they have not opened any offices there to the best of his knowledge.
This person also gave more visibility into the recent layoffs, suggesting that in the past couple of weeks, they “let go of a couple of supply managers and senior level people.” I asked what percentage of the firm, and he replied based on his current contacts that “15% seems light.”

However, our interview with another former employee suggested the 15% (in North America) seems about right. However, when the former senior leader was involved, Trading Partners had over 90 employees globally and he now guesses that the current number is potentially “down around 40,” i.e. substantially less than what Trading Partners shared with Spend Matters. To him, considering both the recent departures, which consumed many in North America, and layoffs, “it feels like an extreme cutback.”

Marc, however, disagrees, suggesting that the current restructuring was required based on “how we operate and the skill set required to deliver fully hosted reverse auctions.” Marc further suggested that “2010 numbers are up over 2009” and the forecast/overall revenue/customer delivery numbers are up as well. The company also has a “new head of sales and a new head of operations.” Yet others close to the organization suggest that some of the sales people reporting to this individual have only “one year of overall work experience.”

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Obsessed with how companies manage, spend and save money, Jason writes about procurement, trade and supply chain issues @ Spend Matters. He has significant first hand experience developing and marketing technology and services products, has advised numerous companies on sourcing and related techniques as well as M&A pursuits.  In previous lives before tech, he was a management consultant and merchant banking analyst.